If there was ever a happy guy on this planet, Jonnie would be that guy.
'I love kissing her.'' The thought appeared in his mind, as he ran his fingertips through April's hair.
''Come on, Jonnie,'' April's smile added sunshine to a nearing sunset, ''We'll go to my dad's. There you'll ask him."
''I'm afraid he'll say no.'' Jonnie's fingers abandoned her hair and found refuge in his jeans' pockets.
''You'll never know if you don't ask him, Jonnie!'' said April, lowering her head suddenly in desperation. She instantly remembered that she is Jonnie's anchor, so she lifted her head and said: ''Never give up, Jonnie... My dad ain't such a bad person. He only wants to get to know you. He just wants to know if you're a good hunter material.''
Jonnie just stood there. She kissed him on the lips, and stretched her arms towards the sky. ''I wouldn't be able to live without your sweetness'' reacted Jonnie.
Then he looked directly in her eyes and said: ''I forget - so too many times - just how often you're right." he said.
''There, you see... Things are never that gloomy... You'll always have me, Jonnie..." she confirmed.
As they were approaching the car, for no real reason their short fast strides became faster. The Sun was imitating their speed: it was drawing and erasing shadows on the ground. It finally found refuge behind the hills. The couple entered the car and chose the silence.
''It's six pm, Jonnie!'' April raised her voice after five minutes of silent meditation in the motionless vehicle. ''He's in the cabin. He always returns from his summer time hunting at this time.''
April's father, Jeremiah, was a rare animal. He led his life as unconventionally as possible. He was a passionate hunter, and would have chosen - if only he could - spending the remainder of his days hushed in a bed of grass waiting for the perfect deer. He was a trophy collector. A visitor to his home, to his cabin adorned with the trophies, and hidden deep in the woods of the Big Mouth Mountain, would be left stuttering at Jeremiah's deep voiced question: ''Well, how do you like my home?''
And this was the thing that was pulling Jonnie into silence. ''How is a guy to live up to Jeremiah's standards? It's impossible. He's an extraordinary man.'' A whirlpool of these simple yet anguishing thoughts moved in Jonnie's mind. Time and time again.
''I can't face him and ask him to be with you, April... Your dad is ... well ... grand.''
''I am going to keep in my mind your promise, Jonnie. The promise you gave me just ten minutes ago ... So start this frigging car and let's go get the big bear.'' she kissed him on his right cheek.
Jonnie was at a loss for words. Stunned. Yet his hands and feet started the car's engine and they drove off in the direction of the already set Sun.
As they were driving, April managed to get Jeremiah on the phone. 'Dad?'' purred April to her father over the cell phone. ''We're coming. Yes, Jonnie has decided to talk to you... Yes, he's got guts...'' giggled April. ''I told him just how sweet and considerate a man you are... Did he buy it?'' April giggled some more. ''Yeah, he obviously did, he's driving the car and his hands aren't shaking with fear.
Right, Jonnie?'' Jonnie changed to lower gear.
''OK, see ya!'' April ended the little chat with her father, realizing that Jonnie drove the car too slow.
''Faster Jonnie, faster!'' April was encouraging him with her raw voice.
''Hey, I'm doing the best I can here...'' answered Jonnie. April was statisfied with his attitude. ''His voice tells me his spirits are gaining on determination.'' she thought. Her beautiful smile adorned her, as did her voice, giving her a certain erotic aura.
Six-foot-nine Jeremiah had just prepared his famous bear stew as someone knocked at the door of his cabin.
He abandoned his beloved spoon and headed for the door. The floor and even the walls were creeping under the weight of his steps.
''It must be them!'' he thought.
No sooner that he opened the door, April jumped with love and hugged her father's shoulders. ''Daddy-y-y!'' she cried out lovingly.
''How was your trip?'' asked Jeremiah.
Now, Jonnie was to follow.
''Well, sir. Swell, to be exact.'' April laughed.
''Sir, my name is Jonathan.'' Jonnie tried to introduce himself. In his mind, at this moment of time only Jeremiah and he existed. ''Jonathan Walker.'' continued Jonnie. ''I am your daughter's boyfriend. I am planning on making your daughter a happy woman. In fact, I am planning on marrying her.''
''What...?'' whispered April from behind her father's back, pleasantly surprized.
Jonnie just realized that he had made a capital mistake.
''Well whatever you're planning on doing, you have to taste my bear stew first'' laughed Jeremiah as his large arm carelessly tapped Jonnie's shoulder.
Jonnie just stood there thinking of his mistake.
''Well, why are you just standing there...?! Come and eat.'' encouraged Jeremiah his future son-in-law.
''Sir, you are a hunter?'' asked Jonnie with his mouth full of bear meat. He had not tasted anything like that before. The hard, sinewy meat gave him courage.
''Well, can't you tell!?'' asked Jeremiah pointing with his spoon at all the trophies. ''Some people collect stamps, I collect trophies'' laughed he. ''But I don't exchange anything. What's mine stays mine!''
This Jeremiah's remark caused Jonnie to stop chewing the hard meat. He turned his look at April. She smiled somewhat mysteriously.
''Dad,'' she gazed at her father. ''Why don't you play your guitar for us a bit when we're done eating?''
''Anything for you, my dear April!''
After the stew pot was emptied, April suggested that she would like to do the dishes.
''You're so considerate, dear. Just like your late mother.'' Jeremiah got up, stretched, and went out of the cabin and to the porch for the guitar.
April used these moments to approach Jonnie and kiss him.
''You see, he's indeed a nice fellow. He'll come now and sing a sad song.''
Jeremiah returned with the guitar in his hands.
''You see, my friend,'' said he to Jonnie. ''I like playing my guitar. Now you are going to hear a song April's mother loved to listen. ''Falling leaves in fall.''
Everyone sat down. Jonnie and April waited for the father to adjust the strings. Than the song began.
''Falling leaves in fall,
What have I done wrong,
What have I done that is small,
Falling leaves in fall...
My darling is in the woods,
In the deep woods and creeks,
Dark are my moods,
Dark are my moods...''
Jonnie thought that he spotted a tear in Jeremiah's eye.
''No, my children, it's no tear, it's just on account of the smoke from the fireplace.''
April began to cry. Jonnie didn't know what to do. Just for a moment, he felt like an intruder. Like someone who does not belong there.
The night was silent as can be, and they all began to prepare themselves for a good night's sleep. Their spirits were, if only for a moment, cleansed.